Even as heavy rains cast doubts over the fate of the fifth One-Day International (ODI) between India and Australia in Cuttack on Saturday, cricket enthusiasts on Wednesday waited in long queues in front of the Barabati Stadium to purchase tickets for the match.
Even as the city has been witnessing heavy downpour for the last three days and more rains predicted in next two days casting doubts over the fate of the match, diehard enthusiasts arrived at the stadium since Tuesday night to stand in the queue for the tickets.
Although the ticket counters opened half-an-hour later than the scheduled time, more than 12,000 tickets were sold on Wednesday, sources said, adding the remaining 4,000 tickets would be sold on Thursday morning.
The stadium has a seating capacity of more than 45,000, but only 16,537 tickets were up for grabs for the public from counters. As many as 4,451 tickets were sold online and a little over 12,000 tickets were sold to Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) affiliated units of the state earlier.
Meanwhile, OCA authorities are leaving no stone unturned to keep the Barabati ground match-fit on Saturday. In an innovative way, the organisers are draining out water from the outfield by digging four wells around the ground.
Efforts were also on to keep the pitch dry by providing a three layer cover. Last night, rainwater gushed into the pitch. The ground staff were pressed to remove the water by using sponges.
“If the rains spare us at least for a single day on Friday, we will get the ground match-fit on Saturday,” said an OCA official.
Both the teams are slated to arrive at Bhubaneswar on Thursday after their match at Ranchi. The teams would stay in Bhubaneswar and come in Cuttack for practice on Friday, sources said.